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Strategic planning means different things to different people and varies between different types of organizations. It is important to clarify what we are looking for in our strategic planning. Failure to clarify will dramatically affect buy-in from others and impede the success and purpose of the strategic plan. 
So what is strategic planning? 
Strategic Planning is an articulate plan with a mission, vision, goals, and objectives. However, what makes it strategic is the addition of external data such as market data or competitor analysis. Using relevant data can aid organizations in distinguishing a product or service from other similar products from competitors. This is known as strategic differentiation. 
Strategic planning should be a rolling and evolving process. I typically develop  a rolling five or ten year plan depending on the organization and market analysis results. Every year, there is an evaluation and adjustments to the 5-10 year strategic plan while still executing the initial plan. 
If the data shows there is a shift in the market or the targets are not being met, there is an adjustment to the current plan. There is no sense is executing a plan if it is not working. A continuous strategic planning process is a tool informing our stakeholders of what and how the plan is executed. This is especially important to our employees. 
It is important for employees, the largest stakeholders, to know that their company is productive and not wasting time and resources. Strategic planning is a never ending process that requires us to be smart with our resources and excellent in our communication.
Specifically important types of strategic plans are Branding strategies. Branding strategies are strategic plans implemented by an organization which are inline with its mission and vision. Branding strategies reinforce the organization’s position within the market as leader, providing meaningful differences in their products and services. 
“Successful brands are seen as genuine, real, and authentic in what they sell as well as who they are. A successful brand makes itself an indispensable part of its customers’ lives.”*
One of the core components of the overall marketing plan is Brand strategies. They are closely tied to an organization’s marketing communication plan. A Communication plan is a strategy that organizations use to communicate its marketing messages to its target audience.
Using old data in the planning process is one of the things I have come across in strategic planning. There is a lot of data out there and it can be a challenge to make sense of it. Even with current data companies run the risk of misinterpreting the data and skewing their strategic plan. 
Organizations that develop strategic plans on old data do not have a full and accurate picture. As a result, this will have a  huge impact on an organization’s efforts. 

*KOTLER, P. & KELLER, K. 2011. Marketing Management 14th Edition, Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice Hall.


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